Orioles

Redskins' kicker Forbath is a perfect 10 for 10

Redskins' kicker Forbath is a perfect 10 for 10

ASHBURN, Va. (AP) It will no doubt hurt when Washington Redskins kicker Kai Forbath finally misses a field goal.

It hurts when he makes them, too.

Forbath is one of those kickers who wears a smaller shoe on his kicking foot - a much smaller shoe. While his left foot takes his normal size of 10 1/2, he shoehorns his right foot into a size 7 1/2 to create a hard-as-possible surface for making contact with the ball.

Still, It's as painful as it looks.

``It's not something you'll keep on your foot very long,'' Forbath said. ``I don't do it because it feels good.''

Forbath learned the trick as a freshman at UCLA, and it's served him well. He won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker as a junior in 2009, and his first steady NFL work could hardly be going better: He's made all 10 field goal attempts since joining the Redskins last month.

``You're going to try and jinx him now?'' long snapper Nick Sundberg told a reporter Monday when asked about Forbath.

Success through the uprights can be a touchy subject with the Redskins, who are on their 19th kicker in 18 seasons and have by far the NFL's worst field goal percentage (73.7) since 1995. If Washington (5-6) is going to make a playoff push, there needs to be some degree of comfort that a drive that gets inside the 30 will almost always yield three points.

Forbath was the choice after Billy Cundiff missed five of 12 attempts to start the season. Forbath won an off-day tryout over retread veterans Olindo Mare and Josh Brown.

``I always take a look at those other couple kickers, and they've been cut for a reason. I'm not sure why,'' coach Mike Shanahan said. Forbath ``was a guy that nobody really even talked about. You watched him kick, and he won it legitimately against two other veterans that have been in the NFL for a long time. Usually when you handle pressure, it transfers over to game situations.''

Like most young kickers, Forbath needed to make stops in multiple NFL cities before finding a regular season job. He signed with the Dallas Cowboys in 2011 but hurt his quad during the lockout and ended up on the non-football injury list. This year he was in training camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as essentially the token competition for Connor Barth.

The Redskins like Forbath because he doesn't sweat the small stuff. He's not rattled if Sundberg's snap or Sav Rocca's hold aren't spot-on every time.

``I have a couple of things that I'm thinking about when I'm kicking, and I can't let the other things distract that,'' said Forbath, who, like all NFL kickers, hits the ball soccer-style with the instep of his foot and not the tip. ``When it starts rippling down to, `Oh, no, I'm worried about the snap.' Then `I'm worried about the hold,' then that's when things go wrong.''

Sundberg said youth makes the 25-year-old Forbath less fussy.

``I don't think about anything, and I've talked to him about trying to do the same thing,'' Sundberg said. ``Don't listen to the crowd. Don't listen to anything. Don't listen to Sav. Just when you see the ball, go. And let your muscle memory take over and do what you know your body is capable of doing, and he's done an excellent job of that.''

Forbath's one miscue has been an extra point attempt that was blocked because he kicked it too low. He also is trying to master the art of the kickoff - he's been a field goal specialist for much of his kicking life. He actually changes footwear for kickoffs, wearing a full-cleated version of the very tight shoe instead of the one with the shaved cleats he uses for field goals.

Forbath admits his kickoffs still need work.

``It's just something you've got to get comfortable with, in a groove, and we're working towards that right now,'' he said.

But there's no doubt he's in a groove when it comes to the other part of his game. His latest big kick was a 48-yarder that helped stave off the Cowboys in the 38-31 win on Thanksgiving day.

``You have to feel confident every time you go out there,'' said Forbath, whose parents lived in Hawaii and named him after the Hawaiian word for ``ocean.'' ``If you start doubting a kick, that's when things tend to go wrong.''

Notes: LT Trent Williams played much of the Cowboys game with a deep thigh bruise in his left leg and did not practice Monday. ... The Redskins placed rookie LB Keenan Robinson on injured reserve and signed LB Roddrick Muckelroy. Robinson tore a pectoral muscle against the Cowboys and will have surgery this week. Muckelroy has played in 19 games with the Cincinnati Bengals. He missed all of last season with a ruptured Achilles.

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Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

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USA TODAY Sports

Machado homers as Orioles beat Rangers 6-5

For well over six seasons, Manny Machado's value to the Baltimore Orioles has been solely his ability to hit and play the field.

All that has changed, now that the Orioles are looking to receive a huge return for their All-Star shortstop in a blockbuster trade.

Machado homered before being removed on a wet day, Adam Jones hit a three-run double and Baltimore rallied past the Texas Rangers 6-5 Sunday.

Machado was taken out of the game in the fifth inning by manager Buck Showalter after a 26-minute rain delay. The move was designed to get their star player off a sloppy field, because the last-place Orioles are entertaining offers for Machado before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

"Obviously there's a different situation going on with Manny. You all know that," Showalter said. "That had a lot to do with it."

Plain and simple, the Orioles can't afford to have Machado get hurt. Now, more than ever.

"A month ago he wouldn't have come out of the game," Showalter acknowledged. "We know that. You know it."

After being replaced by Jace Peterson, Machado sat in the dugout, wearing a sweatshirt and joking with his teammates.

"I don't know why (Showalter) did it or not," Machado said. "He just told me, `I'm going to take you out. You had a good first half and go represent us well in the All-Star Game.'"

Machado is Baltimore's lone representative for Tuesday's showcase. He has spent his entire career in Baltimore, but his contract expires after this season and the Orioles don't appear interested in locking him up with a long-term deal.

"I'm going to the All-Star Game as an Oriole and as a shortstop. It's just always a blessing," Machado said. "I thank God. I thank my family for always supporting me, my teammates, the fans, the organization. I mean it's just been very incredible."

In a matchup between two teams staggering into the break, Texas got a first-inning grand slam from rookie Ronald Guzman but quickly gave the lead away in losing for the seventh time in nine games.

Machado ignited the comeback with his 24th homer, and Jones' bases-clearing double in the third off Mike Minor (6-6) put Baltimore ahead to stay.

"I'll be fine," said Minor, who yielded five earned runs in 2 2/3 innings. "I'll reflect a little bit and then get back to it."

The game ended when Texas pinch-runner Carlos Tocci was thrown out at the plate on a double by Elvis Andrus. Running from first base, Tocci was tagged out by catcher Caleb Joseph following throws by right fielder Mark Trumbo and second baseman Jonathan Schoop.

"Textbook," Showalter said.

Texas manager Jeff Bannister called it a "situation where they had to throw it on line to throw Tocci out. They executed well."

Tanner Scott (1-1), the first of four Baltimore relievers, earned his first big league win.

Zach Britton, another Oriole supposedly on the trading block, worked the ninth for his fourth save, the second in two days.

Texas broke on top when Miguel Castro issued three straight walks and Guzman sent a one-out drive over the right-field wall for his first career grand slam.

It was 4-1 in the third when Joseph hit an RBI double and Jones doubled down the left-field line following a walk to Machado.

Shin-Soo Choo homered in the seventh to get the Rangers to 6-5.

STREAKY

Choo opened the game with a walk, extending to 51 his single-season club record streak of games reaching base via a hit, walk or HBP. ... Texas' Delino DeShields went 0 for 3, stretching his hitless drought to 28 at-bats. ... Jones snapped a 1-for-16 skid with his third-inning double.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Rangers: RF Nomar Mazara was given the day off after hurting his hand Saturday night in the outfield.

Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman (back) was set to make his final rehab start Sunday for Triple-A Norfolk. ... INF Steve Wilkerson (oblique) and OF Craig Gentry (rib fracture) likely won't come off the DL before August, Showalter said. ... RHP Andrew Cashner (neck strain) will be activated from the DL on Saturday or Sunday to face Toronto, Showalter said.

UP NEXT

Rangers: The rotation after the All-Star break, beginning Friday against visiting Cleveland: Martin Perez, Bartolo Colon, Cole Hamels, Yovani Gallardo and Minor.

Orioles: After the All-Star break, Dylan Bundy will start at Toronto on Friday night.

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Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

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Murphy's big hit helps Nats beat Mets 6-1

Daniel Murphy and Trea Turner each hit a two-run single in Washington's five-run seventh inning, helping the Nationals beat the New York Mets 6-1 on Sunday.

Matt Adams added two hits and scored a run as Washington salvaged a split of its four-game set against New York. A preseason favorite to win the NL East and contend for a World Series championship, the disappointing Nationals hit the All-Star break with a 48-48 record, good for third in the division.

Jeremy Hellickson (4-1) pitched six crisp innings in his second straight win. The veteran right-hander allowed one run and two hits, struck out six and walked two.

Jose Reyes drove in Michael Conforto with a fielder's choice in the second, tying it at 1, but Washington grabbed control in the seventh.

Juan Soto and Anthony Rendon opened the inning with walks against Anthony Swarzak (0-2). Tim Peterson then came in and surrendered singles to Adams and Murphy, who came off the bench to hit for Michael A. Taylor.

Jerry Blevins replaced Peterson with two out and runners on second and third. But he hit Wilmer Difo and Adam Eaton before Turner's single gave Washington a 6-1 lead.

New York wasted a solid start by Corey Oswalt, who allowed two hits in five innings. The Mets got off to a fast start this year, but hit the break last in the division with a 39-55 record, a percentage point behind fourth-place Miami.

WAITING

A steady drizzle delayed the start by 47 minutes.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Nationals: RHP Stephen Strasburg (right shoulder inflammation) pitched 5 2/3 innings in a rehab start for Class A Potomac. He allowed three runs, struck out seven and walked one. Strasburg has been on the disabled list since June 10.

Mets: Yoenis Cespedes is scheduled to play five simulated innings in left field at the team's facility in Florida on Monday. Mets manager Mickey Callaway said the 32-year-old outfielder, who has been sidelined by a right hip flexor and strained quadriceps, could return as the designated hitter next weekend against the Yankees If he is able to play on consecutive days.

MAKING MOVES

The Nationals recalled right-hander Trevor Gott from Triple-A Syracuse. Right-hander Austin Voth, who took the loss in his big league debut Saturday, was sent back to Syracuse.

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